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April 2, 2014
(18-8, 2-0 NEC)
University Park, Pa.. Nittany Lion Softball park & Beard Field
(7-22, 0-6 B1G)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 2, 2014 - Senior Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) put together a 4-for-8 effort on Wednesday evening as Penn State split a doubleheader with Saint Francis (Pa.) for the first win at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field in 2014. The Nittany Lions dropped the first contest of the day, falling 4-2 in eight innings before dominating the Red Flash in the late game for a 9-1 victory in six frames.
Sophomore Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) and freshman Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) contributed to the Lions' success as well, turning in three hits apiece while senior Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) added her first homer of the season.
Penn State's win over the Flash breaks an eight-game losing streak to give the Blue and White their first victory since defeating Yale, 5-0 on March 15. Pitcher Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) collected the win, her fifth of the season and first since taking down then-No. 21 LSU on February 17. The freshman registered four strikeouts vs. the Flash.
GAME 1: SAINT FRANCIS (PA) 4, PENN STATE 2 (8)
Sophomore pitcher Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) recorded one of her best games of the season in game one, doling out a season-best seven strikeouts while walking just two opponents, but a pair of two-run homers proved to be a blow that Penn State could not recover from as the Lions fell, 4-2.
It was a slow start for both teams in the opening game with neither getting on the board until the fourth frame. The Flash gained the advantage in the top half of the inning on a Taylor Parsons bomb over the right field wall that also drove in Sabrie Neeb.
SFU kept the Lions scoreless until Presto ignited the Nittany Lion offense in the seventh frame, shooting her third-career home run over center field to give PSU its first run of the game. Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) followed with a base hit to right field and Knief reached next on an error by SFU's third baseman. Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) advanced Furuya and Knief with a sacrifice bunt and a Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) sac fly in foul territory sent Furuya home to knot the score up at 2-2.Saint Francis pitcher Alexis Bower retired Miller for the final out of the frame, sending the game to extra innings.
The Red Flash responded to the challenge in the top of the eighth, tacking on two runs to retake the lead. Bower shot a home run to center field with two outs to put Samantha Thomas across the plate and push the count to 4-2.
The bottom half of the inning started well for the Lions as freshman Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) led off with a double to right field. Sovereign added a single and Presto advanced the runners to second and third with a sac bunt but it was not enough as Furuya flew out to center field and Mary Ward (Greencastle, Pa.), who pinch ran for Brackpool, headed home too early for the final two outs of the game.
GAME 2: PENN STATE 9, SAINT FRANCIS (PA) 1 
The beginning of the second game mirrored the first as each team failed to score in the opening pair of innings but an eight-run fifth inning would seal the deal for the Blue and White as they gained a 9-1 victory.
SFU kicked off the scoring in the top of the third with their first and only run of the contest. The lone run would go to Davina Kachnovitz, who headed home as teammate Chelsy Consentino was caught attempting to steal second base.
The Red Flash held onto the 1-0 lead until Miller sparked PSU's offense in the bottom of the fifth. The freshman, who went a perfect 3-for-3 in the later game, led off with a single to left field to set the stage for the Lions. Furuya followed up with a sac bunt to move Miller to second and Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) registered her first collegiate hit with a single to the pitcher, advancing Miller to third. A Knief single up the middle came next for Penn State and drove in Miller for the first tally of the game.
Sovereign continued to succeed as she sent a single to left center to drive in Tupinio and a two-RBI Hatfield single to right field further extended the Lions' lead as Tupinio and Knief headed home. Jones loaded up the bases on the next at-bat after being hit by a pitch and an Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) single through the right side scored Hatfield and Jones.
Miller returned to the dish for her second at-bat of the frame and picked up where she left off, ripping a double to left center and sending Presto and Walker across the plate. Miller scored the final run of the eighth on the next play, heading home as Furuya reached first on an error from SFU's second baseman.
The Flash were unable to answer in the sixth, giving Penn State an opportunity to push its lead to eight. Sovereign added the final run of the night in the bottom half, capitalizing on another Saint Francis error as she crossed the plate to put the count at 9-1 and end the game per the eight-run rule.
The Nittany Lions return to action on Friday as they travel to East Lansing, Mich. to take on Michigan State in their first Big Ten road series of the season. The Lions and Spartans open the series at 3 p.m. on Friday and follow with 1 p.m. matchups on Saturday and Sunday.